Saturday, October 8, 2011

40 Songs, 40 Days (2011 Edition), Day Twenty Six: Soup by Blind Melon

And we return to this annual slog through my MP3 player with a song that's actually painful to listen to.

Don't get me wrong--it's not painful because it's bad. Truth be told it's alright, if not particularly remarkable...which could pretty much be a description of how I feel about Blind Melon's output as a whole. It's painful because of the context of the song. This is, after all, a song that may have been intended as the title track for the band's second album recorded during a time when vocalist Shannon Hoon had fallen so far down a hole emotionally and physically that it's hard not to see this, and the other songs on that album, as a massive suicide note. Hell, it's hard not to listen to Hoon's railing about his life as a bowl of bitter beans and his vow to 'pull the trigger and make it all go away' and think that this was a man who knew his life was going to end a little over two months after this album came out.

One of the saddest things about that brief blip on the radar of pop culture that was grunge--a musical form that, with each passing day, has been shown to be nothing more than a dead end, the last gasp of complexity and grey before the autotuned and shallow sludge of present dance pop came along to consume us all--is how many lives were lost during its heyday. I don't think Blind Melon would have been anything other than a footnote on the history of that genre; even his one contribution to pop culture, 'No Rain,' comes off as a mishmosh of borrowed ideas spurred into the consciousness by a clever video. And I suspect that if he hadn't let drugs overtake him, he would never have amounted to more than a faint echo of other greater bands (or worse, someone like Art Alexakis, who has devolved from an artist I admired into a deluded shell of a man insisting Everclear was relevant, dammit). But we're never going to know because he ended his life. All the potential for him to prove me and other people who looked at Blind Melon with askance wrong is now gone. Hell, an argument could be made that he ruined four other people's lives, as his band mates have drifted aimlessly, forming and unforming the band a number of times and never making the splash they did with Hoon at the front.

If it's okay, I think I'll just stop now before I get any more depressed. Here's a live version of the song...

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